U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (2004)
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How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is the 11th studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was released on 22 November 2004 on Island Records and Interscope Records. Much like their previous album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb exhibits a more mainstream rock sound after the band experimented with alternative rock and dance music in the 1990s. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite, with additional production from Chris Thomas, Jacknife Lee, Nellee Hooper, Flood, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, and Carl Glanville.
Looking for a more hard-hitting sound than that of their previous album, U2 began recording How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in February 2003 with Thomas. After nine months of work, the band had an album’s worth of material ready for release, but they were not satisfied with the results. The group subsequently enlisted Lillywhite to take over as producer in Dublin in January 2004. Lillywhite, along with his assistant Lee, spent six months with the band reworking songs and encouraging better performances. U2 lead singer Bono described the album as “our first rock album. It’s taken us twenty years or whatever it is, but this is our first rock album.” Thematically, the record touches on life, death, love, war, faith, and family.
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb received favourable reviews and reached number one in 30 countries, including the US, where first-week sales of 840,000 copies nearly doubled the band’s previous personal best. The album and its singles won all nine Grammy Awards for which they were nominated (U2 themselves were awarded eight out of the nine). The album also was the fourth-highest-selling album of 2004, with over 10 million copies sold, and it yielded several successful singles in “Vertigo”, “City of Blinding Lights” and “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own”. The album was also included in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Best Albums of the Decade” at number 68.